Girl Scouts from Orange and Anaheim Hills gathered flags and helped officially start the 2012 Anaheim Hills Relay for Life. They had flags for not only for our state, country and Girl Scouts, they had flags representing the many types of cancer that Relay for Life continues to help find cures for. Relay for Life is an overnight relay-style event where people gather to raise money, educate and remember the victims of, families of and surviviors, of cancer. The Anaheim Hills relay was the top fundraiser in Orange County last year and again this year did not disappoint. The 2012 goal of $140,000 was surpassed and money is still coming in. There were 50 teams with over 650 walkers! During the 24-hour event you could walk the track at Canyon High School round the clock. Our team was aptly named "Walk around the Clock".
After the flag ceremony and the emotional survivors walk, we all got to our campsite booths and went to work. Our team offered two activities. One was a fundraiser for Relay where the girls did crazy purple hairdos for anyone that wanted them. (Purple is the official color of Relay.) Our second activity was directly aimed at educating the public about Breast Cancer and early detection. For visiting Girl Scout troops there was a patch to earn. The "In Her Honor" patch is dedicated to Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low, who herself lost the battle with Breast Cancer. Girls or other guests could play bingo, ask questions and make a beaded necklace to give to a female loved one to remind them of the importance of getting mammograms. In between working the two activities the girls, along with family and friends, walked their laps on the track. I'm not sure our team walked the farthest (I heard on guy say he had walked all night and was up to 38 miles!) but we were enthusiastic.
Other teams shared this years message for fighting cancer "celebrate more birthdays" by decorating their campsites with birthday party themes. At this family friendly event there was food, crafts, music, fun and a lot of love. A caregivers garden sprouted in the middle of the field where survivors wrote messages on the petals of flowers thanking those who helped them during their treatments. After dark, people who have been touched by cancer were honored and we got a chance to remember lost loved ones by lighting a luminaria bag in tribute. The word HOPE was spelled beautifully with luminarias on the bleachers.
Everyone at Relay for Life is encouraged to make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer and taking action. We all may have different ways of doing that; getting our own mammogram, quiting smoking, getting more excercise, eating better or simply talking to people about our experience. Taking Action is the third key to leadership in Girl Scouting (the first two being Discover and Connect) and I think our Girl Scouts, with help from family and friends, did that really well. I know this was an inspiring weekend for me and I hope twice as many of us are there next year. Special thanks goes out to our wonderful Team Leader Lorraine Grob!!! You are awesome!